Linking Power and Inequality in Global Value Chains

Juliane Lang, Stefano Ponte*, Thando Vilakazi

*Corresponding author for this work

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There is increasing interest in the study of globalization on whether the emergence and consolidation of global value chains (GVCs) have exacerbated inequalities within and across nations and/or how GVCs may be leveraged to mitigate them. Although power asymmetries have been identified as a central factor shaping (un)successful GVC participation, dominant discourses still disregard the links between power and inequality or use these concepts interchangeably. In this article, we provide an analytical approach to GVC-related inequalities (within, along and through value chains) and examine how they may co-evolve with different types of power (bargaining, demonstrative, institutional and constitutive). We apply this approach to the case study of the hake value chain in South Africa to illustrate how existing inequalities are manifested, challenged, mitigated or exacerbated—and draw an agenda for future research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal Networks
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)755-771
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Published online: 10 November 2022.


  • Fish
  • Global value chains
  • Inequality
  • Power
  • South Africa

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